THE RESURGENCE OF NATIONALISM IN THE EUROPEAN UNION

Mădălina Calance Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iași calancemadalina@yahoo.com Abstract: Considering the process of integration and the enlargement of the European Union, the continent's political map changed significantly during the last decades. For most of the European nations, facing the integration is going on the path of the economic and social improvement, which also involves important aspects about the nation-state (national identity, nationalism). This paper will focus on the meanings and the dimensions of contemporary nationalism and will later look at the impact of the nationalist ideas in the EU, in times of recession. The study found out that there are many perspectives of the EU challenging national economies and the state sovereignty but, at the same time, people are aware the imminence of the European identity in their economic and cultural future. Keywords: nationalism, national identity, European identity, immigration, populist parties JEL Classification: F15, F52, F59

INTRODUCTION

In the European history, the idea of nationalism has very deep roots. The nationalist ideology is a chameleon over time, being adapted to the prerogatives of a certain nation, the theoretical interpretations of a historical period or to specific political circumstances. Certainly, nationalism is one of the major phenomenons of the last two centuries, whose expression is a reflection of multiplying the nation-states from a dozen (mostly in Europe) to thousands. This increase demonstrates the strength of the principle of self-determination, which proclaims the right of people and nations to establish their own course of political, economic, cultural and social development, without outside interventions. Under the aegis of globalization, important economic and political changes are occurring throughout the world, due to the activity of multinational or transnational corporations, interstate economic organizations or supranational organizations (such as the European Union), with a major impact on the sovereignty of the national state, considered to be more powerless in solving global problems such as: monetary policy, security, the regulation of commercial activities, etc. The new shape of world politics is emerging the idea of the state losing sovereignty in favour of higher political entities. There are many aspects of the European Union challenging national sovereignty. This fact is feeding the nationalist and populist criticism and is shaping a resistance phenomenon. Therefore, we can notice an antagonistic relationship between nationalists, focusing on the set of

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sometimes took a disruptive form […] or sometimes it was a unifying or a centralising force. as in United Germany and in North America. 1.britannica. This view tends to be anachronistic in the context of a galloping XXI st century globalization. In varietate concordia). In both.3) * www. they always feel the need for distinction. According to the English economist John A. Nationalism was the most successful political force of the XIXth century. Norway and Sweden. the general tendency was towards welding into large strong national unities the loosely related states and provinces with shifting attachments and alliances that covered large areas. and the Swiss Federation. but socially as well. financial and international migration. the approach of a unified society is paradoxically emphasizing notions as "difference". Whether individuals are single or organized in communities. making for federal union of diverse nationalities. not only economical. THE PAST AND PRESENT OF EUROPEAN NATIONALISM An Encyclopaedia Britannica * overview submits that nationalism is an ideology based on the premise that the individual’s loyalty and devotion to the nation-state surpass other individual or group interests. [… ] Sometimes nationality was taken as a basis of federation of States. or establishment of political union on a basis of nationality. as in the cases of Austro. It is true that the forces making for political union sometimes went further. (1). However. Inevitably. IV.” (p. the new political system created the dilemma of nationstate. On the other hand. enlarging the area of nationality. integration seems to dissipate the political borders of nation-states. a sociological or psychological perspective. in external politics. was a dominant factor alike in dynastic movements and as an inner motive in the life of masses of population. Otherwise. which reveals the possibility of higher authorities to manage and enforce rules and judgments directly to the national structures. That struggle. The national identity is now facing especially the contact with other national cultures. by facilitating trade flows. the socio-cultural interconnectivity leads to the emergence of nationalist ideas that are either justified or exaggerated. at a global level. which supports the reinforcement of national identies. 2012 25 .co m CES Wo rking Papers.interests and aspirations of a nation and supra nationalism . Hobson (2005) during the nineteenth century ’’ the struggle towards nationalism.Hungary. The European Union understood this imperative. "identity" or "independence". and therefore adopted the motto”Unity in diversity” (lat. Furthermore. nationalism is a doctrine that differentiates the individuals in their nationality.

by promoting chauvinism. seeking to redefine the principles of states and the national identity against the supranational institutions. the nationalism being transformed in empathy for the national working class and xenophobia for the capitalist side. The supra. the national boundaries are redrawn. so the EU institutions (the European Court of Justice. At the end of the century. According to Riva Kastoryano (2010). IV. are putting into question the power of the nation state. 2012 26 .4). nationalism is a major challenge for the EU by raising the issue of minorities. xenophobia refers to the fear of anything alien (including people. These parties have managed to legitimize policies by nationalist and protectionist approach. the nationalist ideas and the future of national economies. from the academic or the political field. Many voices. Cas Mudde (2004 a) studies the issue of populist parties and defines them as „political parties that share an ideology which combine features as: nationalism. fed by growing nationalist resentments of citizens or immigrants. especially in countries with dictatorial (fascist) regime. The Second World War ends with the communist regimes takeover. to please the people of Europe. the collapse of communism and the European Union enlargement were succeeded by the removal of anti-democratic aspects. authoritarianism. The same author claims that” nationalism entails a polit ical doctrine arguing the convergence of state (the political unit) and nation (the cultural unit). and populism refers to an ideology that considers society ultimately separated into two homogeneous and antagonistic ’pure people’ versus ’the corrupt elite’. identity and diversity and questioning the Union’s capacity to lead the states beyond their features. In times of austerity. This creates a reaction from the far-right parties. the European Court of Human Rights or the Commission) impose standards on states. p. the economic recession proves once again that the emergence of nationalism is a condition. Supranational is normative. With the European Union.national character of the Union requires that all member states should surrender a part of their sovereignty by correlating the legislation and applying the directives of the European institutions. ideas. xenophobia. authoritarianism denotes a strict belief in law and order (yet not necessarily an antidemocratic attitude).In middle of the XXth century the European nationalism loses its original meaning becoming more aggressive. habits). racism and xenophobia. as well. (1). or populism” (p. the far-right parties are rising in Europe. On the other hand. and which argues that politics should be an expression of the volonté générale (general will) of the people” (Mudde 2004 b. 543). CES Wo rking Papers.

Otherwise. Latvia. Croatia. Norway. Swit zerland. Sweden. The Netherlands. gender. by commanding the basic political allegiance of citizens. Ireland. Den mark. in terms of both territory and of resources and skills” (p. historical or ethnic references. 144). Socially. NATIONAL AND EUROPEAN IDENTITY The meaning of national identity is based on the concept of nation-state (as its founding principle) that relies on cultural. religion. Germany (East/West). ”the nation and the national identity. Slovak Republic. Armen ia. Great Britain. Russia. Bulgaria. Northern Cyprus. (1). IV. * † http://europa. Republic of Macedonia. ethnic or historical backgrounds. Czech Republic. Hungary. Kosovo. A zerbaijan. Bosnia -Herzegovina. For Smith. Turkey. law. CES Wo rking Papers. the approaches of national identity are configured on cultural. Greece.). Malta. have become the only recognized source of ‘inter. Poland.htm Research aria: A lbania. Lu xembourg. The nation may also be seen as the basic unit of moral economy. race. Iceland. the European Constitutional Treaty brings the obligation to respect the national identities and the fundamental political and constitutional structures of the Member States * .2. the nation-states and the national identity are fundamental dimensions of the modern world. Smith (1991) speaks about national identity in political terms as determining the co mposition of the regime ’s personnel and legitimating the policy goals and administrative practices for every citizen. Lithuania. 144) . Italy. etc.national legitimacy’. many people believed that EU was an organism able to protect national identity. because of their omnipresence and universality. Portugal. Georg ia. Fin land. institutions and ceremonies. the national bond provides the most inclusive community. the generally accepted boundary within which intercourse normally takes place and the limit for distinguishing the ’outsider’. He claims that ”in the cultural sphere. Belarus. Ro mania. France. values and memories. statistics show that the feelings of belonging to EU are tending to be very similar in nature to the way citizens are proud of their nationality. Serbia. Anthony Smith (1991) sees national identity as the most fundamental and inclusive of all collective identities (class. Spain. of the validity of a system of states in each region and continent.1 Protecting national identity On a late 90’s survey† initiated by The European Values Study questioning the opinion on the European Union. 2. Republic of Montenegro. national identity is revealed in a whole range of assumptions and myths. Austria. Ukraine. and ultimately in the world as a whole. Republic of Moldova. Cyprus. Slovenia. as well as in language. Therefore.” (p. Estonia. Regarding the relations between the Union and the Member States. Belgiu m. 2012 27 .eu/scadplus/constitution/objectives_en. Northern Ireland. Also.

due to important factors such as the global crisis. Few people were thinking that unifying the European states would mean the end of their national. in times of recession. IV. historical and cultural identities. Their national economic interests would also be sacrificed. (1). If ten years before some people may have had fears about the consequences of the European Union openness. the fear of loosing national identity was more intense. the unemployment or the immigration. historical and cultural identities and their national economic interests from the challenges of the superpowers. CES Wo rking Papers. As we can see in Figure 2. the frequency of sceptical views has increased considerably.For them. the percentage of people who answered they were ” very much afraid” of loosing national culture or identity almost equals the percentage of negative answers. of people saying they are ”not afraid of all” (17%). As we can see in Figure 1.gesis. 2012 28 . only a truly united Europe could protect its states national.org/) In 2008. there is a greater percentage of the answers favouring the idea of European Union as protective for the national identity (about 75 %): Figure 1 – Opinion on European Union: National Identity (1990-1999) Source: Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences (http://zacat.

At the same time we are facing a negative phenomenon.2 Immigration Immigration affects the national economic system and always represented an important social problem.org/) 2. In response to xenophobia of the host population the immigrants could preserve their national identity and CES Wo rking Papers. the international migration flows can be considered by the host population as a threat to the national identity and can cause nationalist reactions of rejection. higher incomes or just a better lifestyle. With the dissipation of borders induced by increased international collaboration and the influx of labor force in the European market. The European nationalism of the XIXth century was an unifying force which brought together people of diverse backgrounds at the price of subordinating their ethnic identities to the larger territorial unit dominated by the secular state (Pamir. it offers the opportunity for business to expand and for millions of people to have better jobs.gesis. because the mobility of individuals comes with the external migration phenomenon. common space. Today. IV. 2005).Figure 2 – Fear of loosing national identity (2008) Source: Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences (http://zacat. (1). 2012 29 . the state and the ethnic identities operate and interact in a larger. Furthermore. with the EU consolidation.

the Hungarians in Transylvania). and only few disagree with this assumptions. as well. As we can see in the below charts (figures 3 and 4). CES Wo rking Papers. being a challenge for cultural heritage of nations. Therefore. penetration and mixture of individuals from different cultura l backgrounds other than the reference country are leading to the development of multicultural communities. the evolution of multicultural states is a major threat to nationalist ideology. many people are considering that immigrants take jobs away from natives in a country and will become a threat to society. In Europe. Figure 3 – EU citizens opinion on immigrants taking their jobs Source: Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences (http://zacat. as a result of integration. In fact. (1). A similar percentage sees the future of society affected by the proportion of immigrants. we are witnessing an increasing diversity inside the national space.gesis. nationalism finds expression inside the communities living within nationstates and aspires to autonomy or their own state constitution (e. and migration continues to erode faith in the nation-state. IV. Instead of a uniform European society. there is a rare situation when a state administers a homogeneous community. even within nation-states.g. Thus.maintain strong links with the original community. 2012 30 .org/) About 40% of respondents asked in the survey belived that immigrants are causing damages on the national labor market.

Hungary. challenging the economy and the common currency. BBC News Europe also indicates a resurgence of nationalism in Europe by recording the electoral results for some of the most successful nationalist/ anti.immigrant parties in Europe. the job losses. 2012 31 . Moreover. Austria. which are anti-Islamist. the dependence on powerful supranational bodies are often causing discontents and emerging nationalist ideas. which is eurosceptic CES Wo rking Papers. exceeding 10 % (figure 5). the inequality and poverty in developing countries. In Finland. xenophobic. True Finns party. We have the example of the ’29. The Dutch Freedom Party and the Danish People's Party. IV. the instability. Italy. The current global recession hit hard the Euro Zone.3 The nationalist parties The political and economic history of Europe shows us that the economic recession leads to the emergence of nationalism and enhances the credibility of nationalist governments.org/) 2. Europhobic parties are challenging the European democracy. the negative ”domino” effects of globalization. in Finland. which are disrupted by the globalization. or immigration.’33 crisis that paved the way for Hitler or Mussolini’s nationalist governments. They represent the voice of citizens. The France National Front (FN).Figure 4 – EU citizens opinion on immigrants representing a social threat Source: Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences (http://zacat. that are expressed mostly through the voice of nationalist or populist parties. Sweden.gesis. France or Belgium the rise of populist. the Netherlands. Denmark. (1).

such as Hungary. etc.co m) CES Wo rking Papers. Figure 5 – Average votes for nationalist parties in the last 3 general elections Source: www.and a strong opponent of the immigration. and that their national identities should be protected..” In central Europe. in the past 3 years.starfor. (1). Bulgaria is fighting * The world's leading private intelligence firm (www. offensive or defensive nationalism are a source of tension between neighbor states. that the European integration process should be reverted. seeking to complete the Romanian territory. 2012 32 . IV. in the minds of many nationalist parties in Europe. which would grant Hungarian citizenship to ethnic Hungarians outside its borders and Romanians. they all have great political influence by achieving trust and votes from the electorate.co m According to a STRATFOR * (2011) study. the ongoing economic crisis ”has corroborated much of that which they advocate: those immigration policies should be reformed.stratfor.

involving their habits and lifestyles.d) Nationalism . accessed on February 2012 at: http:/www. far from defining the territorial boundaries of states.org/. This is why the European democracy is often helpless in front of the simplistic populist thinking. Today’s nationalism. (1). paradox and nationalist extremes. Economic and cultural international relations will always be affected by the differences between people. Only by assuming and highly asserting its own values.britannica. as well. CES Wo rking Papers. In addition. New York: Cosimo Inc. REFERENCES Europe: Nationalist resurgence (2011). Mudde. the European model of society can defend itself and protect the national identity. the acceptance of immigration may be assured by a more active integration policy. providing tensions. available at http://www.co. pp.3. Not all these nationalist issues will withdraw in the near future. CERC Working Paper.J. A degeneration of the situation is a major threat for the already fragile European populations. C. (2005) Imperialism: A Study.bbc. Islam or multiculturalism for strengthening the borders that define the national identity. (2004 a) Globalization: The multi-faced enemy?. intolerance.com/EBchecked/topic/405644/nationalism. Europe encountered the resurgence of nationalism. restoring industrial and trade policies by making them more offensive could abolish criticisms against the economic openness of the EU. acessed on February 2012 at: http://zacat. Kohn. (n. in times of massive immigration and crisis. and rejection of the other. No.against Muslim Turkish and Roma minorities.uk/news/world-europe-13115454. H. Each of these problems finds support in the progressive nationalist speeches of the populist parties. CONCLUSIONS Nationalism is made in Europe. IV. Hobson. the historical experience of all European nations tells us that its story will never end. Of course. available on BBC News Europe. is expressed by targeting immigration. Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences. The fact that EU states shared their sovereignty is a source of ambiguity. A.4-27.gesis. Once again. Great social and economic processes like the integration or the globalization can find a serious opponent in extreme nationalism. 2012 33 .

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